We are 20 minutes from kickoff of the Union-Lakes Class 3A semifinal.
The Titans pass the “eye test” — they look big enough and fast enough to contend for the state championship. Then again, so does Lakes. This should be a good one.
CLASS 3A PLAYOFFS
No. 4 Union (12-0) vs. No. 3 Lakes (12-0)
The lowdown: Lakes is 2-2 in semifinal games, with its last appearance coming in 2002 (a 55-21 loss to Lynden). The Lancers are 3-0 against Southwest Washington schools in the state playoffs. Union coach Cale Piland won a 4A title with Evergreen of Vancouver in 2004.
Why the Titans will win: A second-year program? Only in principle. Piland has brought the same coaching staff, many of the same players and a similar style from his days with the Plainsmen. The offense will use multiple formations to get RB Blake Russell (205 rushes, 1,338 yards, 23 TDs) going, and then strike with WR Mitch Saylor (16 TDs), a 6-foot-6 weapon who has scored in a variety of ways, including a blocked field goal return that beat Ferndale last week.
Why the Lancers will win: A physical rushing attack is no longer an issue – the Lancers have it by averaging 270.3 yards per game, led by RBs Teddy Cotton (163 rushes, 1,216 yards, 15 TDs) and Willis Wilson (111 rushes, 959 yards, eight TDs). The question is balance, and QB Dalton Gervais (75-of-134, 1,188 yards, 18 TDs, 13 INTs) has to do a better job of protecting the ball.
The News Tribune pick: The experienced program against the newcomer? Both are good at stopping the run, so any little mistake in this game should be magnified.
Lakes 28, Union 27